The creative process pursued by pianist Myra Melford, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson requires great concentration, openness and surrender on the part of the listener. Melford’s “brainFire and bugLight” starts as an assertive anthem built on variations of a simple three-note figure. What makes this trio so different is not that they depart this strong structure (Melford kicked free into long tumbling runs, Dresser whirling and fidgeting, Wilson spattering details in space), but that everything they spontaneously come upon creates new forms, and the relationships among the forms is never obvious. The deepest enigma is Melford’s title track, a huge 13-minute expressionist canvas. The component elements are knowable (blues moods, neo-classical architectures, free-jazz psychodramas, pairings in spiraling counterpoint, individual interludes like Dresser’s arco mournings) and yet, again, the logic that connects them is not.
While staying alert enough to follow Trio M around is intellectually challenging, there is fun along with the work. Dresser’s “Modern Pine,” like everything from Trio M, is arcane and constantly transforming. It is also downright catchy.